We had all four seasons for our first Geelong, Bellarine and Surfcoast Workshop out on Moonraker Dolphin Swims! Overall the conditions were excellent and the Ambassadors had a fantastic time learning first hand about why our marine environments are so important, how much fun it can be to interact with the wildlife and the simple actions they can take to contribute to making a positive future for our marine friends now and into the future! For some Ambassadors, this was their first snorkel, and they took to the water like little fish!!
The Ambassadors had a great time snorkelling at Popes Eye Marine Park which is situated near the entrance to Port Phillip, and was Victoria’s first marine reserve, protected since 1979! Popes Eye was built in the late 1800s as part of a series of fortifications designed to protect Melbourne from potential enemy ships, and it is an important part of the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park. Ambassadors were amazed at the sizes and numbers of resident fish, and now have a deeper understanding of the benefits of this long-term protection of our reef environment.
Students watching the wildlife above and below the waterline at Popes Eye.
The first group of Ambassadors out on the water enjoyed a snorkel with the playful Australian Fur seals at Chinaman’s Hat. This structure is an octagonal structure serving as a shipping channel marker and is a popular ‘haul out’ for these fabulous animals. There are several haul outs around Port Phillip Bay and the seals use them to warm up, rest and regain energy after feeding!
Ambassadors had such a great time watching the seals argue over space on the platform and glide gracefully underwater playing with each other like puppies!
The afternoon group were so lucky to spot dolphins and the squeals of delight were heard from everyone as we all jumped in to watch the dolphins swimming around majestically under the water!
The Ambassadors waiting for the signal to jump in the water with the dolphins.
Our very happy Ambassadors were all smiles after their day on the water!!
A fantastic time was had by all, and this important workshop demonstrates the uniqueness of Port Phillip Bay, the issues our marine animals face and gives them the motivation and empowerment to act! Thanks again to Torie and the fantastic Moonraker crew for making this day so special for our Ambassadors, and as always a huge thank you to the parents and teachers that transport these lucky students to ISIC excursions, without you this would not be possible!